Cultural Studies I China, India, Japan, Africa and the Americas before 1400 Southeast Asia! Chapter 16 November 2010
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=872LRkujZ3E South Asia and Southeast Asia played important roles in early trade routes, both land routes and maritime - both regions were connected to China, Central Asia, the Middle East, Africa and the Mediterranean These early global connections can be seen in the religion, arts, literature, architecture, culture, etc in these regions
Both Hinduism and Buddhism spread from India into Southeast Asia in about 200 CE • Before contact with what is now India, Southeast Asians were animists – many of these beliefs were maintained after formal conversion to other religions • What countries make up the Southeast Asian region?
Both Hinduism and Buddhism spread from India into Southeast Asia in about 300 CE • Before contact with what is now India, Southeast Asians were animists – many of these beliefs were maintained after formal conversion to other religions • What countries make up the Southeast Asian region? 1. Indonesia 2. Malaysia 3. Singapore 4. Brunei 5. Thailand 6. Myanmar 7. Vietnam 8. Philippines 9. Timor Leste 10. Laos 11. Cambodia
Buddhist architecture • The key type of Buddhist architecture is the stupa, a mound-like structure containing relics of the Buddha, used by Buddhists as a place of worship • Buddha’s remains were cremated and distributed to eight stupas • The emperor Ashoka dug up the remains and distributed them to thousands of stupas Great stupa, Sanchi, India
Stupa at Sarnath, India – oldest stupa in the world Stupa in Sri Lanka – one of the original eight
The Srivijaya Empire The maritime Silk Road passed through Southeast Asia, making is a cultural crossroads. The trade winds would carry ships as far as Southeast Asia and then the ships would wait for several months for the winds to change before carrying on to China or west to India and the Arab peninsula. As a result, Southeast Asia is diverse, with large populations of Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims and Christians.
-the lower two levels depict scenes from Buddha’s princely life (music, parties, etc) -the next level depicts Buddha’s wandering in his search for enlightenment -the next level depicts Buddha’s transformation, his preaching, his life as an enlightened one -finally, the top level depicts perfect wisdom, enlightenment – no relief carvings
Hindu temple, Bali, Indonesia • Hinduism in Southeast Asia • Spread from India to what is now Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, and Cambodia in around 200 CE • only the island of Bali, Indonesia is still predominantly Hindu • Hinduism adapted to local culture and was expressed through local artistic traditions
Ramayana • One of Hinduism’s holy texts • Depicts the duties of relationships and portrays ideal characters: ideal servant, ideal brother, ideal wife, ideal king, etc • Tells the story of Prince Rama (an incarnation of the Hindu god Vishnu) and Sita • Sita is out in the forest and is kidnapped by Ravana, the evil demon king • Rama tries to get her back • After many adventures and battles, he gets Sita back but questions her purity • Sita must undergo ‘purity’ tests to determine whether she has been loyal to Rama while kidnapped by Ravana (!) • The Southeast Asian versions of the Ramayana differ from the Indian ones: new characters, different ending, also used as entertainment Ramayana dance, Indonesia http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zMdE3fbBp_0 Ramayana wayangkulit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6fVxPoRu2bw&feature=related
Angkor Wat, Cambodia, 12th century – built as a Hindu temple, five central towers represent the five peaks of Mount Meru, the center of the Hindu cosmos -visitors cross a long bridge over a moat, symbolizing the oceans surrounding the known world
Sita being kidnapped by the demon king, Ravana – carved on to an ancient Hindu temple wall, 8th Century CE, Central Java, Indonesia Rama and Sita from the Ramayana, dance performance, Central Java, Indonesia
Vishnu as depicted in Indonesian wayangkulit, or shadow puppet theatre The Hindu epics have been performed in Indonesian wayangkulit for over 1,000 years, even after most Indonesian converted to Islam in around the 14th century http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YVN-Df2Hatc
Cloth in Southeast Asia • Cloth is an important part of Southeast Asian arts, cultures, societies, and economies. Why do you think this is the case? • Some of the most common kinds of cloth produced in Southeast Asia include: • Batik • Ikat • songket
Sarongs are traditionally worn by both men and women in Southeast Asia (also South Asia, the Arabian Peninsula, parts of southern Africa and many Pacific Islands. It is basically a large tube or length of fabric wrapped around the waist.
Peranakan women (mixed Chinese and Malay ancestry) wearing a sarong and kebaya) The kebaya is inspired from Arab clothing, introduced as a more modest and acceptable dress for newly-converted Muslim women than the traditional pre-Muslim torso wrap. Indonesian woman wearing batik sarong and kebaya
Prior to the kebaya, women traditionally wore a type of wrapped cloth around their torsos.
A batik kebaya set has been adopted as the uniform of Singapore Airlines flight attendants.
Batik • Batik is a traditional Indonesian technique of created designs on cloth using wax and dye • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2XdjebgIL5k • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xYZuSqAEH5s&feature=related • Indonesians traded cloth with India, China, various places in Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Africa • Each place created cloth they believed would be popular in the destination market. • Indonesians adopted Indian patterns, Indians adopted Indonesian patterns, etc • Because of the multiculturalism of Southeast Asia, batik patterns integrate the cultural symbols of many different cultures
The Phoenix is a traditional Chinese motif – the phoenix is said to appear only during times of great prosperity and peace. The pastels cater to the tastes of the local Peranakan community.
Ikat • Ikat, literally means ‘tied’ • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m5n_gq391VQ&feature=fvsr
Songket • hand-woven silk or cotton, patterned with gold or silver threads • Some songkets have so much gold or silver thread woven into them that they weigh over 10 pounds! • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wLIJHmnBgnM
If artistic energy is put into the design and production of cloth, why it is not considered a ‘fine art’ akin to painting or sculpture?
Global connections with Southeast Asia • Spice • Language • Food
Cloves Until recently, cloves grew only on a few islands in the Maluku Islands (known historically as the Spice Islands). They found their way to the Middle East and Europe well before the first century CE. Archaeologists found cloves in a tomb in Syria from 1721 BCE! Cloves, along with nutmeg and pepper, were highly prized by ancient Romans. Cloves were so valuable that one kilogram of cloves cost 7 grams of gold. So how did cloves get to ancient Rome? How do cloves relate to the age of European Exploration and colonialism? Cloves were used in medicine, a painkiller in dentistry, digestive problems, muscular issues (including multiple sclerosis), lowering blood sugar levels, incense in European, Chinese and Japanese religious rituals, preservative for meat, preservative for corpses and a way for corpses not to stink as they decomposed during funeral activities…..
Nutmeg Also highly prized by early Europeans as a medicine and preservative. In Elizabethan times, it was believed that nutmeg could ward off the plague. Like cloves, nutmeg was brought to Europe and traded in Venice by Arab traders, who kept the source a secret from the Europeans for hundreds of years. European exploration of Southeast Asia was largely to find (and control) the source of spice.